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After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title
Illustration by John Hersey

Animating the title


From:

After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Animating the title

I press the Zero on the numeric keypad to RAM preview my main title and Hero footage composition. I have to say that even though things are nicely arranged and indeed following the camera movement in the scene, it's a bit boring. I think I need to add some excitement to this, maybe some impact for when HEART ATTACK comes on the screen. Well, when I want to add impact and excitement, quite often I'll start by trying to synchronize things to music. So I'm going to go back to the Final Comp composition, select our final Beat Wave soundtrack and copy it.

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After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title
3h 30m Intermediate Jan 17, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This project-oriented course leads you through the creative and technical process of building an opening title sequence from scratch in Adobe After Effects. Author Chris Meyer shows how to pull together numerous skills you've learned in the other After Effects Apprentice courses, from working in 3D space to creating type and shape layers to writing expressions. Along the way, Chris lets you in on the mental process he uses when creating similar spots for real-world clients, while sharing numerous tips that will help broaden your After Effects skills.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.

Topics include:
  • Animating to music
  • Arranging layers in 3D space
  • Performing time stretches
  • Working with 3D camera tracking
  • Typesetting and animating text
  • Adding effects like drop shadows and motion blur
  • Creating and animating shape layers
  • Building and delivering a broadcast package
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Animating the title

I press the Zero on the numeric keypad to RAM preview my main title and Hero footage composition. I have to say that even though things are nicely arranged and indeed following the camera movement in the scene, it's a bit boring. I think I need to add some excitement to this, maybe some impact for when HEART ATTACK comes on the screen. Well, when I want to add impact and excitement, quite often I'll start by trying to synchronize things to music. So I'm going to go back to the Final Comp composition, select our final Beat Wave soundtrack and copy it.

I'm also going to note where the camera move happened in this final composition. It starts one marker before the cymbal marker and ends on the cymbal crash. I suspect that coordinating to that camera move would be a good first step to also time our title, it would be particularly nice if it landed right here at this major crash. So I'll return to my Hero + Title composition and paste the soundtrack into this comp, all my markers came across as well.

I don't want to accidentally double up my soundtrack. I don't want it playing in this pre-comp and in the final comp as well because it may overload and distort. So with my soundtrack layer still selected, I am going to go to layer and choose Guide layer. That says only preview in this composition but don't render and don't play downstream in any other comps I might nest this one into. And we said right around here, the marker before cymbal would be a good starting point, so that's start of the camera move.

I put my current time indicator here because that's where I probably want to start keyframing my text animations. You can go ahead and create your own text animations, or if you're in a bit of hurry, you can use one of the presets supplied by Adobe as a starting point. Let's do that. I am going to switch back to the Effects & Presets panel and choose Browse Presets. This will open up Adobe Bridge. If this is the first time you've used it on this particular session, it will take a little while to open and to build the database off all these presets, but eventually you'll see an assortment of folders that correspond to all the different groups of presets.

I want the Text Preset, so I'll double-click 'that folder and again I have many subfolders of different classifications or types of animations. Since we're already in 3D in this composition, it might be fun to have a 3D text animation as well, so let's go explore this folder. I'll double-click it and you'll see that I have many different presets. I can go ahead and click on and preview to see if I like their movement. Now there are some pretty fancy ones in here, but I suspect that a subject is weighty as a Heart Attack might want something a bit slower and more elegant, such as maybe this Flydown Behind Camera, that's a nice simple move that still has some impact where the text comes from out of sight to being in sight in the center of our attention.

Yeah, I like this one. I think I'm going to use this preset, but you of course can choose another one to your taste. To apply a text animation preset to an already selected text layer, just double click it and it will be applied to that layer. The animation will start at the position of the current time indicator, I'll bring that comp forward and press U to reveal its keyframes and that's how it animates onto the screen. Okay, that's a good starting point. I have this other subtitle 'Surviving A', let's go ahead and give that an animation preset as well.

I'll select that text layer, I'll switch back into Adobe Bridge and since that is a subtitle, I might explore giving it a less exciting or less attention-grabbing preset. I want my focus to be on the word Heart Attack. I still want surviving a to come in, in an interesting manner, so I'm looking at these different Animate In presets. Oh, here we go, these have some promise, just a simple, elegant Fade Up Per Caracter, I think I'm going to go with this one. So I'll double-click it; just apply to my text layer.

I've got that panel forward, press U and there's its keyframes. Oh, look what I did here; I moved my current time indicator because I was previewing the other text animation. Therefore it was in the wrong place to start my 'Surviving A' animation. No problem, I will press the J key to go back to the prior marker or keyframe, select these two keyframes that just got pasted in, slide them back and hold the Shift key to snap them to the current location. Now that we have these in place, I'm going to shorten up my work area to maybe begin at this Beat, type B to begin and end around here, N to end and let's RAM preview that and see how that works.

There's my slow movement in, my text animates in and let's see how that sounds in relationship to the music. (music playing) I wasn't entirely pleased with that to be honest and my real moment of excitement here is this crash in the music, so the very least, I want to move those keyframes to line up with that crash. I've noticed that my second keyframe from my Heart Attack layer is an easy ease in, which usually makes things slower and more elegant, but I think I'd like some impact on this for it to land hard to really grab the viewers' attention.

So I'm going to convert that back to a linear keyframe. I am going to hold Command on Mac, Ctrl on Windows, click on it once to make it linear. On the other hand, you could consider making the subtitle something slower and more elegant. You could choose that one and make it a Easy Ease Keyframe just to come in to it more softly. I'm going to leave in the same for now, but it is an option you might want to consider. Let's try that. (music playing) I like that end timing but it starts coming on too soon, to be honest.

It's not really lining up with the music. Instead, I think I'm going to line up this musical event here where the cymbal roll starts. By making it shorter, it will make the resulting animation faster and tied in more tightly with the music, let's preview that. (music playing) I like that better.

However, right when that cymbal starts, I'm not seeing an animation appear for another frame or two. So something I might consider doing is cheating these keyframes back just a little bit to actually start to see them when the cymbal roll starts. (music playing) Yeah, that feels more tightly tied in to the music for me, so I'm going to go with that. Since I don't need my text layers before these keyframes, I can go ahead and trim them just to give myself a better visual cue what's going on.

I move my current time indicator to their first keyframe. I hold down Option on Mac, Alt on Windows, press the left square bracket and we'll trim them to start right at that point in time. In some cases, that might also speed up your rendering.

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